On the bright side, during MSNBC's State of the Union Coverage, correspondent David Shuster pointed out a couple of "misleading" claims made by Senator Jim Webb in the Democratic Response. After critiquing some of President Bush's statements, Shuster moved on to focus on Webb's speech. In response to Webb's complaint that wages "are at all-time lows as a percentage of national wealth," Shuster countered that "when you compare wages and salaries to cost of living," as economists normally do, "the sky is not falling in the way that Jim Webb suggested." And in response to Webb's complaint about manufacturing jobs being transferred overseas, Shuster pointed out that "high-tech jobs are coming to America." (Transcript follows)
While interviewing Senator Hillary Clinton Tuesday during MSNBC's State of the Union coverage, Chris Matthews referred to "ideologues on the right" who opposed her health care plan from 1994, saying they had planned to "kill this baby in its bassinette." Matthews wondered if Senator Clinton still felt the "sting of that strategy on the other side." (Transcript follows)
Below is a transcript of Matthews's question to Senator Clinton:
Matthews, to Hillary Clinton at 10:47pm EST.: "Back when you were working so hard on health care, back in the 90s, in the early 90s, and you really thought you could get some kind of compromise at the end, I believe, and the word came from the ideologues on the right, 'Kill this baby in its bassinette. Do not let them get a compromise health care bill that they can get credit for.' Do you still feel the sting of that strategy on the other side?"
Appearing on MSNBC's State of the Union coverage, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw praised President Bush for talking about global warming in his speech, lamenting that it was a subject the "Republican-dominated Congress has given very little attention to." Brokaw obverved that Bush had used the term "global warming" for the "first time since he's been President." Brokaw: "I think that you can give him an A for identifying the priorities that had been before this country for some time, and that the Republican-dominated Congress has given very little attention to. Global warming, he used that phrase for the first time since he's been President." (Transcript follows)
Add Keith Olbermann to the list of congressmen, intelligence officials and others to manifest an embarrassing unfamiliarity with the players in the civil strife in Iraq. On tonight's Countdown, Olbermann was trying to make the case that "recent claims from the president that Iran is providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq . . . is proving . . . suspect . . . The Bush administration is providing scant evidence to support the claims."
And what evidence did Olbermann provide to support his claim? "The Los Angeles Times [is] reporting that journalists traveling with US troops in Iraq have failed to see these extensive signs of Iranian involvement. A recent sweep through a stronghold of Sunni insurgents uncovering only a single Iranian weapon among dozens of arms caches." [Emphasis added].
As reported by NewsBusters, Keith Olbermann during Monday’s “Countdown” declared Insight magazine as part of a quartet of the Worst Persons in the World. Its crime? Publishing an article suggesting that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Illinois) attended a Muslim madrassa as a child.
In reality, KO should point that castigating finger at himself given that he hasn’t always been so critical of the conservative magazine. In fact, in the eight other times that a LexisNexis search identified KO referenced Insight, he quoted from the publication quite warmly as if it was a credible source (h/t NewsBusters member “mlong”).
What did all those eight instances have in common? Well, if you guessed that the magazine was criticizing President Bush or a member of his administration, you’d be correct.
Hysterically, the most egregious example of Olby’s hypocrisy on this issue was him actually using an Insight article to declare Karl Rove “The Worst Person in the World” on September 6, 2006:
As reported by NewsBusters, the Fox News Channel lobbed quite a shot across the bow of its cable competitors Saturday with a new promo claiming it to be “The Only Cable News Channel That Does Not Bring You The Usual Left Wing Bias.” Feeling that he was up to the challenge, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann fired back on Monday’s “Countdown” (video available here):
Speaking of satire, the Fox nothing channel, sorry we can no longer seriously use the word news in connection with what they put out. They have launched a new advertising campaign. Nobody would ever accuse the Fox nothing channel of being honest or principled, but they used to be good at stuff like that.
That’s quite a fine example of the pot calling the kettle black, dontcha think? After all, nobody has ever accused KO of being honest or principled including his former employers and colleagues that Olby seems to constantly be at odds with as reported here, here, here, here, and here.
Yet, this wasn’t KO’s only swipe at Fox News Monday evening, for the cable station was also part of a quartet of media outlets he named as his “Worst Persons in the World”:
Having hit Chris Matthews hard here in recent weeks, let's give him credit for flashing some real reporter's instincts in going after Hillary aide Howard Wolfson on this afternoon's Hardball on the issue of whether the campaign is conducting opposition research on its Dem rivals.
And while Wolfson wouldn't flatly admit it, by the end of the interview there was little doubt that Hillary's campaign is actively digging for dirt on its Dem opponents.
Matthews: "Let me ask you about opposition research. Is that part of your campaign: checking out other candidates's possible flaws in their resumes? Are you guys going to engage in that kind of politics to win the nomination?"
When Wolfson gave an evasive answer to the effect he and Hillary believe she can win by focusing on her record, Matthews persisted:
NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” did a wonderful sketch last evening that in one fell swoop made fun of “Hardball” host Chris Matthews, Sen. Hillary Clinton, and the media’s sycophantic enthrallment with the former first couple from Arkansas (video available here).
The skit began with the mock Matthews gushing over finally getting the chance to interview Madame Clinton. After he finally composed himself, the first question he asked admittedly was “actually written by a member of [her] staff.”
Sounds about right, correct?
Then, the mock Matthews said that he’s got some questions of his own, and demurely asked, “Is it all right if they’re about Iraq?”
Chris Matthews and John Fund had something of a nuclear showdown on this afternoon's Hardball. Matthews' current kick is worrying that President Bush might launch an attack on Iran without congressional authorization. In that context, talk turned to Saddam's nuclear program and that of North Korea.
Keith Olbermann is scared. Not by the threat of terrorism in the United States. But at the notion that "24" might be raising Americans' awareness of the threat. And he has singled out NewsBusters for the role it has played in highlighting the issue.
Olbermann devoted a Countdown segment this evening to "24", suggesting that its two-night, four-hour season opener should have been sufficient to "scare or outrage you." Incomprehensibly, Olbermann complained that the show depicted various terrorist suicide attacks "not in places where these things already happened, but in a country called the United States of America." Is it possible that Keith Olbermann has forgotten 9-11?
As everyone knows and Andrea Mitchell has confirmed, Chris Matthews is no liberal. Don't let the fact that he describes the goal of the impending Iraq surge as "ethnic cleansing" fool you.
Matthews discussed the impending surge into Baghdad on this evening's Hardball with David Ignatius of the Washington Post and Gary Berntsen, the former CIA field commander for the agency's Jawbreaker team at Tora Bora.
Said Matthews, speaking of the role of US troops:
"If they are forced to do patrol duty in the streets of the Sunni areas where they are expected to basically be part of the ethnic cleansing because they will be shooting at Sunnis, they are going to get shot back at."
In retracing the early steps of the O'Reilly vs. Scarborough battle, it's funny to see that when O'Reilly attacked NBC and MSNBC on January 4, he probably hadn't left the parking lot at Fox when attack dog Joe Scarborough was already protesting his complaints on MSNBC, and running audio from O'Reilly's radio show earlier in the day. This exchange shows that Scarborough is either (a) making fun of himself, or (b) completely misleading his audience about his attention-grasping "Is Bush An Idiot?" segment last August:
O’Reilly, from his radio show: “Bush can't win. No matter what he does. NBC News, The New York Times, The Washington Post, they're going to say he's an idiot. There's no sense of balance or fairness in their reporting. That's activist journalism.”
Scarborough: “Bush an idiot? I've never said Bush is an idiot. Chris? If I ever said -- do you think Bush is an idiot?
Has Chris Matthews surged and accelerated his war against President Bush? Did the MSNBC host and analyst refer to the Commander-in-Chief as "evil"?
In the course of Matthews dialogue with Lester Holt, guest-hosting on this morning's "Today," Holt raised the possibility that President Bush might choose to expand the war into Iran:
Holt: "The president of course has stepped up language against Iran for its interference within Iraq. He sent a naval aircraft carrier group to the Persian Gulf. If he makes this now against Ahmadinejad, if Ahmadinejad becomes the 'poster thug' in this case, does that increase support for the war?"
Matthews: "Well, the president may well choose to widen the war for political reasons . He may do it for military reasons. We do have our troops under assault in Iraq and he has to protect the troops. And if there is Iraqi [sic, presumably Iranian] involvement in the other side he has to take steps. The danger is we might cross the border into Iraq [sic, again surely referring to Iran], therefore triggering a reaction from Iraq, from Iran rather, and then we go to war with Iran. And I think the President might well want to do that. Who knows what evil lurks? But the fact of the matter is that the American public may never get a say in this. The Congress may never get a say in it."
On Thursday, NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein wrote about “Hardball’s” Chris Matthews stating “Cheney, of course, who always wants to kill” on Don Imus’s radio program. On Friday, the Fox News website featured this exchange in a “Bias Alert.”
Fox News is taking Bill O'Reilly's campaign against "NBC's turn to the far left" to FOXNews.com. The number three story on the home page this afternoon says: "Bias Alert: Which NBC Biggie Said, 'Cheney ... Always Wants to Kill'?"
According to the article, this was a multiple choice question:
How do you know when someone's gone off the deep end of the liberal pool? When she manages to outdo Keith Olbermann at the art of invective.
On this evening's Countdown, Olbermann and Arianna Huffington were discussing Joe Lieberman's support of President Bush's Iraq policy. Olbermann's opening bid was to suggest, given Lieberman's backing of traditional Dem positions on ethics and global warming and the fact that "he could give the Senate to the GOP if he feels crossed or just feels like it," that the independent Democratic senator from CT was a "necessary evil" from the Dems' viewpoint.
"Necessary evil"? Was that weak beer the best Keith could do? Arianna easily trumped Olbermann's opprobrium: "this is like somebody having a horrible disease and looking at some positive side-effect. Like having terminal cancer and saying 'but, I'm losing weight in the process.'"
For Chris Matthews, there is one constant to be considered in analyzing the prospects of the presidential contenders on both the GOP and Dem sides: the presumed bigotry of his fellow Americans.
Kibitzing about '08 on this afternoon's Hardball with a conservative-free panel composed of Chris Cizzilla of the Washington Post, Mike Allen of Time and Howard Fineman of time immemorial, Matthews first handicapped the Dem field in these terms:
"Is the low estimate of [Democrats'] belief in [Hillary's] electability low enough thatthey think that an African-American guy has a better shot than she does? I mean that's a statement, I think, of pessimism about her shot if you shift to him for electability reasons."
All throughout last night's Hardball, MSNBC's Chris Matthews kept pressing the line the administration was headed for war with Iran, so much so, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow felt the need to calm down Matthews. When an agitated Matthews demanded: "Tony, will the President ask Congress' approval before any attack on Iran?,' Snow countered, "You're getting way ahead of yourself, Chris. Nobody here is talking about attacks on Iran." Snow even attempted to tone down the admitted film buff's active imagination as he warned the excitable Hardball host: "Well, you've been watching too many old movies featuring your old friend Slim Pickens is what you're doing now, come on."
There’s really no other way of putting this: Keith Olbermann is a disgrace, and the idea that any major media outlet would give him a daily platform to spew his vitriol from is similarly so.
Such an observation certainly comes as no great surprise to NewsBusters readers who have been regularly subjected to videos and transcripts of this man’s vapid and insipid rantings since this blog was first started. Though Thursday night’s “Special Comment” on MSNBC’s “Countdown” was not necessarily out of the ordinary for Olbermann, coming a day after President Bush’s speech to the nation concerning Iraq, its contents were all the more offensive (video available here).
Last week saw the dawning of the new Democratic majority and members of the media seemed to be charmed by the event. ABC reporter Cokie Roberts described a photo-op of new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holding her grandchild as "fun" and "completely natural." CBS’s Bob Schieffer interviewed Pelosi and pressed her to raise taxes. And "60 Minutes" commentator Andy Rooney became nostalgic for Democrats of old, saying it’s "hard to dislike Jimmy Carter."
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann continued his fevered attack on all things Republican and conservative. He’s now accused White House Press Secretary Tony Snow of "bald-faced lying" about a Bush speech. Olbermann’s cohort in liberalism, Chris Matthews, described the Vice President of the United States as someone "who always wants to kill." Later in the week, he told his "Hardball" audience that he was "terrified" of the President’s plans for Iran. Chris, calm down!
Appearing on this morning's Imus show, Chris Matthews [file photo] painted a portrait of a bloodthirsty VP Cheney.
Matthews: "I don't think we should get deeper and deeper into the sands of Arabia with more troops. I think these decisions to keep going forward, which is what he’s doing, is getting us into a quicksand situation where the more you struggle, the more you sink. I think that's where we're headed and it‘s because of his ideology, because of the neocons who have grabbed his arm again, this guy Fred Kagan has grabbed hold of him [the president] again and they've using [retired General] Jack Keane to do it, and they’re working through Cheney, of course, who always wants to kill, and they’ve dragged us back into the same mentality that we're looking for any reason to strike, and I think that's the way he is towards Iran right now."
While there's never been much doubt as to where Norah O'Donnell stands politically, I've never heard her express a political position in such unmistakably personal terms as she did this afternoon on Tucker Carlson's MSNBC show. Said Norah, discussing the President's imminent announcement of a surge:
"The President has chosen a military solution to the sectarian violence. As Brownback said today, and an increasing number of Democrats, it should be a political solution."
When Tucker countered that the military is traditionally used for the express purpose of ultimately achieving a political solution, Norah again expressed her own view: "Perhaps when there's a clear enemy. But in this case there's not really an enemy. We're in the middle of a civil war between Sunnis and Shias."
Where has Maxine Waters been? It wasn't until she turned up on Tucker Carlson's show this afternoon that I realized how long it's been. Now there is one fun lady. The Representative from California proved the perfect foil, helping Carlson score some wicked points at Nancy Pelosi's expense.
Carlson's fundamental question, and I think it's a good one, is, given that Dems ran and were elected on an anti-war platform, why are they apparently about to go along with the surge? The unstated answer is that they've made a cynical political calculation that it's in their interest to demagogue the issue rather than lead.
Here's how it went down:
Waters: "I certainly, do not trust the President of the United States to lay out a case that is believable . . . I don't trust him. I don't believe him, I won't be supporting it, for sure."
Carlson: "But [Pelosi's] naive enough to believe him. I think I understand the point you're making."
Is there no bridge too far for Joe Scarborough to cross in defending charges of liberal bias against his NBC/MSNBC employers? On last night's Scarborough Country, Joe adopted a position so sycophantish, even Keith Olbermann might have been embarrassed by it.
Scarborough suggested that NBC News had done the right thing in assembling a panel on the Iraq surge composed exclusively of experts hostile to the President Bush's proposal. Scarborough's suggestion came in the course of a segment on Bill O'Reilly's revealing interview with Andrea Mitchell last week, during which he confronted her on NBC's liberal bias. Video: Real (4.3MB) or Windows (5MB) PlusMP3 (795 KB)
As we noted here, when Andrea Mitchell appeared on The Factor last week, Bill O'Reilly confronted her over NBC's leftward tilt. Andrea not only denied any NBC bias, she also vouched for CBS' and ABC's fairness. For good measure, Mitchell claimed that Chris Matthews is no liberal.
Tucker Carlson fired back on his MSNBC show this afternoon. The gist of his argument: that in attacking Keith Olbermann, O'Reilly was actually promoting the Countdown's lefty host. There was only one problem with Carlson's theory: O'Reilly never mentioned Olbermann. Not once. I watched the Factor segment live, wrote about it, posted a video excerpt and - just for good measure - have gone back and checked the closed-caption transcript and can confirm that not only did O'Reilly not mention Olbermann, he never so much as alluded to him or his show.
One of the most overused anti-Bush analogies at this point in 2007 is Hurricane Katrina. Geoff Dickens found it even surfaced last Wednesday in reference to the rough cell-phone video of Saddam Hussein's execution. MSNBC's "Hardball" crew found this comparative analogy to be not only logical, but delicious enough to repeat, as Geoff Dickens reported after watching last Wednesday's show. Reporter David Shuster found "critics" to make this odd connection:
"A White House spokesman later said President Bush has not yet seen the Saddam video. The images have been part of an international discourse for days. And critics say the President`s detachment is reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina, when the President didn’t appreciate the aftermath or public uproar until an adviser showed him a tape several crucial days later."
It was hard to tell what was making Andrea Mitchell angrier: Bill O'Reilly's assertions that NBC has a liberal bias, or his repeated and perhaps ungentlemanly references to the lady's "30 years" of experience. In any case, the look on Andrea's face was unmistakable: she was not the happiest of campers.
Mitchell appeared on this evening's Factor for purposes of touting her new book. But kudos to O'Reilly for taking the occasion to directly confront a leading NBC light with the network's undeniable leftward tilt - which Mitchell proceeded to flatly deny.
This is must-see video, which you can see here, but let me entice you with these two tidbits.
How do you know when things have jumped ugly at Hardball? When host Chris Matthews himself has to jump in to separate the warring parties, even warning a Dem consultant to lay off the ad hominems.
Bob Shrum is always spoiling for a fight. In contrast, Ron Christie is normally mild-mannered and affable. But the former aide to Pres. Bush and VP Cheney had definitely eaten his Wheaties this afternoon.
The video portrays things beyond my poor power of description, but the fur began to fly when Shrum accused Christie of using talking points. Things went downhill from there.
I'd say Christie landed the single most-telling blow of the evening. Shrum gave him an opening, calling for the cut-off of funding for the Iraq war at a date certain, claiming "this is how we've always ended wars. We honored Gerald Ford last week for helping to end the war in Vietnam. And that's how it was ended - the funding was cut off."
Christie pounced: "Now you're going to tell me that's how we end wars? We actually end wars when we achieve our objectives that we've set militarily."
In 2006, one of the most shameless Democrat pols in the media was certainly MSNBC correspondent David Shuster who repeatedly and consistently behaved more like a left-leaning political operative than a television journalist. On Wednesday’s “Hardball,” Shuster made it clear that objectivity and impartiality were not on his New Year’s resolutions list.
As NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein has been reporting, Chris Matthews has been virtually foaming at the mouth lately concerning his desire for American troops to be immediately withdrawn from Iraq. On Wednesday, his partner in crime nicely set up the 7PM EST installment with an antiwar rant that could have been performed by Cindy Sheehan (video available here).
After showing a brief clip of President Bush asking the new Congress to “set aside politics and focus on the future,” Shuster complained, “But the president made no mention of the Iraq War.” Then, the rant really began. The reader is hereby warned to put a lobster bib on to protect clothing from the foam spewing out of Shuster's mouth:
Has anyone checked the video to see if Chris Matthews was part of Cindy Sheehan's noisy protest that brought Rahm Emanuel's press conference to a halt the other day at the Capitol? Because Matthews has been on an absolute anti-war rampage. As noted here, in the days preceding Nancy Pelosi's ascension to the speakership he was demanding that she use the power of the purse to cut off funding for the war. Yesterday afternoon he snapped at Matt Lauer when his NBC colleague opined that the Democrats have no choice but to fund the war so long as US troops are in the field.
Matthews continued his campaign on last night's Hardball. Check out these excerpts from his conversation with Dem strategist Hilary Rosen and former Republican representative Susan Molinari:
Demanded Chris of Rosen: "Will the Democrats do what they promised to do in the campaign or will they let the voters down again and not stop this war?"